Senator Joel Villanueva has proposed the imposition of maximum working hours for drivers of transport network vehicle service (TNVS) like Uber and Grab to ensure the safety of both drivers and passengers.
The said suggestion was in response to the recent statement of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) that it is “seriously considering” setting minimum working hours for Grab and Uber drivers.
The senator said that instead of setting minimum working hours, it would be better if the regulatory agency limits the number of working hours of Uber and Grab drivers to ensure safety and avoid incidents of drivers getting overworked.
“Kailangan natin masiguro na ang drivers ay hindi overworked at buma-biyahe lamang sa itinakdang working hours. Ito ay para na rin sa kanilang kaligtasan, maging ng kanilang mga pasahero,” Villanueva said.
The senator also argued that if the LTFRB would set minimum working hours, it would appear ironic to the concept of ride-sharing wherein car owners driving on their way to work use apps like Uber and Grab only to share a ride with other commuters who are also going to the same or near the car owner’s area of destination.
“Originally, car owners subscribe to ride-sharing apps like Uber and Grab to save money for fuel and help in easing transportation woes of commuters who do not own cars. Some of these car owners do not consider Uber and Grab as business and they have the option to drive in whatever number of hours they choose to. So if the LTFRB would not give franchise to drivers like them for not complying to the set minimum working hours, it runs contrary to the concept of ride-sharing per se,” Villanueva explained.
On Thursday, LTRFB Spokesperson Aileen Lizada was quoted saying, "So if ever we will grant franchises, [there should be a] minimum number of hours na dapat online kayo. Kasi kung bibigyan kayo ng prangkisa, pero two hours a week lang kayo babiyahe, sayang. Bibigay na lang natin sa iba 'yung prangkisa.”
Aside from the said issue, Villanueva also called for an inquiry on the process being followed by the LTFRB in granting franchises to TNVS providers.
Among the things he wanted to scrutinize are the reasons prompting the LTFRB to stop issuing permits to TNVS, incentives design for drivers, and the tax payment scheme for TNVS operators.
“Higit po sa issue ng TNVS, nais nating kalampagin ang Department of Transportation upang sila ay makapagbigay ng mas maayos na mass transportation service. Sa tingin ko ay hindi tayo hahantong sa ganitong problema kung may mas praktikal na solusyon ang gobyerno para sa ating mga commuters,” Villanueva said.